Football

Odemwingie goal gives Nigeria their first win since 1998

Odemwingie's goal keeps Africans' Round of 16 hopes alive, Dzeko and Co go home

GROUP F

NIGERIA 1

(Peter Odemwingie 29)


BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA 0

Bosnia-Herzegovina's maiden appearance at a World Cup Finals ended in disappointment, as Peter Odemwingie's goal condemned them to a 1-0 defeat by African champions Nigeria in Cuiaba this morning (Singapore time) and ensured they could not qualify for the second round.

Nigeria's win, their first at a World Cup Finals since 1998, leaves them as favourites to join Argentina in the second round.

Argentina are on six points after beating Iran 1-0 earlier this morning to leave the Iranians on a point while the Nigerians are on four points.

Nigeria play Argentina in their final group game on Friday morning - the Africans have lost all three times they have previously played the South American side in the group stages, losing 1-0 on the last occasion in 2010.

Odemwingie, who has had his fair share of run-ins with national coach Stephen Keshi, said the team had been painfully aware of the hiatus between wins.

AWARE

"We were aware of the 16-year gap with no win for the country," said the 32-year-old, who was born in Uzbekistan where his father played football.

"This is very exciting for us and very important too as the fans were disappointed by our previous performance (a 0-0 draw with Iran).

"This victory can have a huge impact on us as it brings confidence with it and, if we get to the last 16, who knows what can happen? Maybe a repeat of what happened in last year's African Nations Cup where we got better and better."

Nigeria were a completely different team to the one that had barely got out of a Sunday morning stroll in the draw with Iran.

Emmanuel Emineke always looked a threat and it was he who created the goal, as he burst down the right and engaged in a race for the ball with veteran Bosnian skipper Emir Spahic, who tried vainly to obstruct the Nigerian.

However, the central defender had completely misjudged the situation as Emineke went the opposite side and outpaced him to collect the ball before unselfishly squaring it to Odemwingie, with the Stoke City striker tucking the ball away.

Bosnia had little to offer, although they could claim that they had been robbed of a goal as Edin Dzeko put the ball past Vincent Enyeama, but it was wrongly ruled out for offside.

Dzeko, though, could have stolen a point at the death when he rose to meet a corner but his downward header was straight at Enyeama, who gratefully smothered it.

The Manchester City striker went even closer in time added on as his shot from inside the area beat Enyeama but cannoned back off the post.

The referee whistled for full-time shortly after that, with the Bosnians collapsing to the ground in despair and the Nigerians jumping for joy as they - after the Ghanaians drew 2-2 with Germany earlier this morning - restored pride to the African challenge at the Finals.

- AFP.


MATCH STATS

Total shots: Nigeria 20, Bosnia 18

Shots on target: Nigeria 13, Bosnia 10

Corners: Nigeria 4, Bosnia 4

Offsides: Nigeria 3, Bosnia 2

Fouls committed: Nigeria 9, Bosnia 7

Yellow cards: Nigeria 1, Bosnia 1

Ball possession: Nigeria 45%, Bosnia 55%

World Cup